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[113] indistinct in his outlines. This, perhaps, is the more observable, stepping, as I do, from the well-defined page of Blackstone. Truly, the English commentator is a glorious man; he brings such a method, such a flow of language and allusion and illustration to every topic! I have heard a sensible lawyer place Kent above him; but, in my opinion, sooner ought the earth to be above the clear and azure-built heavens! And yet the character of Kent, as told to me, bewitches me. His works, in fact, are crude, and made to publish and get money from (he has already cleared twenty thousand dollars from them) rather than to be admired and to last. A revision may put them in a little better plight for visiting posterity, and I understand he is giving them this.1

When you write, tell me all the law you have read. I wish to compare ‘reckonings’ with you occasionally, as we are voyaging on the same sea.

This is written in the vexation of a cough,

By your true friend,

To Charlemagne Tower.

Cambridge, Friday Morning, May 11, 1832.
my dear friend,—The moment I saw the black seal of your letter my mind anticipated the sorrowful intelligence it bore.2 Permit me to join with you in grief. I offer you my sincere sympathies. The loss of a father I can only imagine: may God put far distant the day when that affliction shall come over me! You have been a faithful son; and, I know, a joy to his eyes. I reverence the spirit with which you have sacrificed all your professional and literary predilections. You did that for your father's sake; and the thought that you did it on his account must be to you a spring of satisfaction and consolation as hallowed as the grief which you feel. You follow duty: what nobler object can man follow; and what can bring him to a nobler end? The professions or walks of life in which we may tread are of but little consequence, so that the way we take is well trod. I promise that your sacrifice will be ever unrepented; not that I undervalue the study of the law, or the means which it affords of advancement and honor, but because your sacrifice was one of duty and piety.

You kindly mentioned my sister.3 I owe every one thanks and regard who speaks of her with respect. But my grief, whatever it may be, has not the source that yours has. A Persian matron, oppressed by a tyrant king, had the leave of the monarch to save from death one of her family and relatives. She had many children and a husband; but she had also a father, old and decrepit. Him she selected and saved, saying that another husband and other children she might have, but another father never. I have lost a sister; but I

1 He thought more highly of Chancellor Kent's Commentaries at a later period, post,p.120.

2 Tower's father had died, March 15, at St. Augustine.

3 Tower, Hopkinson, Stearns, and Converse wrote to Sumner letters of sympathy at the time of his sister Matilda's death.

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